Gift Ideas for the Frugal Shopper

By April Lewis-Parks

Many people have a love-hate relationship with the holidays. Company parties and family gatherings-love. Credit card bills and holiday weight gain-hate. Determining what to buy for your friends and family can be stressful, even more so when you have limited funds to do so. To avoid the anxiety of fighting holiday traffic or trying to figure out what to buy for your second cousin twice-removed, consider a few gifts that are both enjoyable and affordable.

1. Homemade gift baskets

Whether you’re handing it over to a family member or a co-worker you barely know, a holiday gift basket can be personal and functional for all recipients. You can fill your basket with homemade cookies and cakes, breads, jams, muffins and other desserts. If your baking skills still need fine-tuning, consider stocking your basket with cheeses, crackers, wines and other delicacies from the gourmet section of your local grocery store. These gifts are not only affordable, but you can vary the items you put in them to appeal to different people. You don’t have to solely use food items either. Small books, candies, candles and lotions can also make a great addition to a holiday basket.

2. Host a Yankee Swap

You’re probably not the only person in your circle of friends and family who is strapped for cash. As the holiday season is about spending time with loved ones, rather than gift-giving, why not nix purchasing presents for everyone, and instead host a Yankee Swap. You can ask each person to prepare a dish and bring one gift that is suitable for both genders and is valued at no more than $25 or $30. These parties are a great way to spend time with family and friends without the anxiety of stretching your budget thin. If you get creative with the rules of a Yankee Swap, they can also create a few laughs when you exchange items.

3. Place a cap on spending

Too often you end up spending aimlessly without any restriction on how much you’re spending. Instead, call up family members and discuss placing a limit on how much each person can spend. This not only helps you stick to your budget, but can also force you to get more creative about what you purchase.

Most of all it is important to remember to have fun and enjoy the joyous spirit of the holiday season! Ho, ho, ho…